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How to Add Colour to Your White Kitchen

Give a classic white cookspace a fresh new look with these easy, adaptable ideas for bringing some brights to a blizzard

Houzz UK Contributor. I have been an interiors journalist since 1995, writing several… More

It’s hard to fault a classic white kitchen. Clean-looking, suited to almost any space and easy to live with, it’s a firm style favourite. It’s also very easy to tweak, tailor and personalise, and will make friends with almost any colour, from moody darks to zingy brights.

Team a white kitchen with black or grey and it heads in a Scandi direction, but introduce some colour and it feels instantly energised. Just a jolt of a cheerful shade or some clever painting is enough to brighten even the snowiest of kitchens. Here’s how.

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Accessorise brightly
Open shelves loaded with bright china, beakers and artwork bring a burst of colour. This is a flexible way to punctuate a white kitchen. Keep moving objects around for an ever-changing and invigorating display.

Notice the shiny brass handles on these drawers, too – another quick, clever way to rev up a white-out!

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Install colourful appliances
If you’re designing a kitchen from scratch, consider fitting colourful appliances. Many ovens, ranges and fridge-freezers are available in rainbow shades to bring a slice of colour where you least expect it.

If a full range is too much of an investment, be inspired by the pink toaster to the right in this image, or consider a colourful kettle – an affordable option.

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Paint the ceiling
Tradition tells us to paint our ceilings white, but there’s no reason to. Why not try a colour to introduce interest overhead without disrupting the cool, white kitchen scheme? Here, a soft, icy blue adds a subtle accent, but a warm shade can work, too. It’s a way to ground and frame a white scheme that otherwise risks disappearing upwards.

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Find your funky with tiles
Choose tiles in a rich tone for your splashback or upstand to contrast with white cabinets. These sea blue metro tiles have been laid in a stepped pattern, rather than the conventional brick effect, bringing even more interest to this strip of wall.

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Create a feature wall
Painting a feature wall of bold colour is even more straightforward and less expensive than fitting colourful tiles. Use it to create a splashback effect (an eggshell paint will be splash-resistant and easy to wipe) or simply paint any section of floor-to-ceiling wall.

This kitchen’s vibrant slice of coloured wall is, in fact, back-painted glass – a good option if you want to add some sheen to a contemporary space.

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Lay a rug
Simple but effective, laying a bright rug will warm a white scheme from the floor up and feel good underfoot, too. Ideally, choose something with a close pile that won’t trap crumbs, and go for a design that can be machine-washed.

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Work in some pattern
Even if the colours are muted, a splash of pattern will do wonders for a white kitchen. Try using it on a blind, seat cushion or even just a collection of tea towels. Choosing a pattern designed on a white background, as here, will limit its impact and help it tie in with the overall scheme.

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Paint an island
This is an easy way to introduce colour, and you can be safe in the knowledge that its impact will always be limited. By painting the breakfast bar section of an island, you can brighten a white kitchen without the new colour dominating.

For starters, bar stools will break up the effect, while anyone sitting at the island will further obscure the colour.

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Hit the floor
Try fitting a kick-plate in a zingy shade or painting an existing one. That strip of colour, running below the cabinets, makes a welcome and witty addition to a white scheme without tipping it off balance.

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Keep it busy
Opt for the more-is-more approach to take a plain white kitchen into a more colourful realm. Bring out the bunting, include lots of shelves laden with colourful jars, and hang up bright utensils. Now, simple white cabinets become the background to flashes of detail and interest, rather than being the room’s key feature.

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How have you brightened up your white kitchen? Share your tips in the Comments below.
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